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During its monthly board of trustees meeting on March 24, the Dodge City Community College discussed what it would be doing moving forward in efforts to provide continued education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I would like to thank the faculty, staff, admin and students, I don't think I have ever been in a situation like this in my career," DCCC president Harold Nolte said. "A lot of schools were not as prepared as we seemed to have been and I appreciate and applaud everyone for the things they've done."

However, because of the situation, Nolte said that graduation will not be held.

"A lot of things we typically do at this time of year we are not having," he said. "It's painful that we have to do that. We have things we really like to do in the spring but we're not going to be able to do those things."

Currently, DCCC has moved its classes online because of the COVID-19 outbreak like many other schools.

According to DCCC vice president of academic affairs Jane Holwerda, the college is transitioning all classes to online delivery.

"Faculty and division chairs were notified after the extension of Spring Break of two days was announced," Holwerda said. "Most of our academic faculty had taught online elsewhere and/or here so making that shift was facilitated by that."

Faculty members who have not had as much experience with teaching online courses were teamed up with those who have to share resources and mentoring as well as being involved with the outreach faculty.

Students in need were loaned laptops as well.

"Overall I am very excited at how the transition has gone," Holwerda said. "We communicate a lot and share as much information as I can."

According to DCCC vice president of workforce development Clayton Tatro, agriculture, criminal justice and early childhood development made the move to online classes early, with cosmetology being mandated by the Kansas Board of Cosmetology to go online-only for two weeks through April 6.

"That is as far as we have gone through the KBOC guidance and regulations," Tatro said.

For welding, a decision was made to get caught up with theory and move to online only for two weeks.

"Diesel is going face-to-face," Tatro said. "There are six students in the morning and five in the afternoon. Small groups plus the instructor spread out through social distancing with a protocol screening with every student every day."

Students will be given a series of questions and their temperature will be checked before entering class. If any issues arise, the student will be sent to the health department.

For truck driving classes, Tatro said, there will be an in-class lecture and do pre-trip and all backing and their permit in a more concentrated manner.

"We are adhering to strict social distancing," Tatro said. "And all other guidance. From what I am understanding we are one of four out of 26 institutions that are doing any kind of face-to-face. Nursing is all but online. It is amazing how all of this has evolved."

Regarding reevaluating time frames, Tatro said the only course with a set date of re-evaluation is the cosmetology program, which was set by its KBOC. Other courses will not have a set date in returning to classes because of the ever-changing procedures from COVID-19 assessments.

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